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Citation for Introduction

Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd Ed..

MLA

Senior, Donald , Gail R. O'Day and David Petersen. "Esther." In The Access Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Apr 13, 2021. <http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195282191/obso-9780195282191-chapterFrontMatter-17>.

Chicago

Senior, Donald , Gail R. O'Day and David Petersen. "Esther." In The Access Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195282191/obso-9780195282191-chapterFrontMatter-17 (accessed Apr 13, 2021).

Esther - Introduction

Set in the royal court of Persia, the book of Esther recounts how, through a series of dramatic events, a Jewish woman becomes queen and uses her influence to win for her people the right to fight off a threat of genocide. The Jewish holiday of Purim, described at the end of the book, celebrates this victory. The book's festival theme groups it within the five “megilloth” * (scrolls) of Jewish Scripture (along with Ruth, Lamentations, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes). Esther is found among the historical books of the Christian canon. *

There are three ancient versions of the book of Esther: the Masoretic text * (MT), a Jewish manuscript tradition from the Middle Ages; the Septuagint, * a Greek version from an earlier period; and another Greek manuscript tradition called the A (or Alpha) Text. The MT is the shortest of the versions and is printed here. The longer Septuagint version is accepted as canon by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians and is found in the Apocryphal * /deuterocanonical * books.

Because details from the book do not easily fit with historical information about the Persian king Xerxes (called in the MT Ahasuerus and in the Septuagint Artaxerxes), the book is best considered “historical fiction.” Its acceptance (mixed with gentle mockery) of foreign rule, along with lack of concern with the land of Israel, suggests that it was written in the Diaspora * (communities living outside of Israel), perhaps late in the Persian era * (the fourth or early third century BCE).

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